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  • Lance Mannion
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Cleveland Bob

As always, a well crafted post, Lance.

After two full years of unemployment, I could probably match you blow by blow on the dis-ease, death and financial problems of the last couple of years. Save to say, it's been a stone cold bitch.

I do however maintain a reasonably upbeat outlook due to my marriage of 20 years to most sane, lovely and pleasant female I've ever know, a pool of good friends who have shown great compassion to me over this period and a punch drunk, but unwavering belief that Things. Will. Get. Better.

Good call on Vonnegut's Uncle Alex but for my personal muse as it relates to a positive outlook, I always recommend watching Harvey with James Stewart. His Elwood P. Dowd has been a beacon of bon homie for me for many years since I was played the young doctor in a production of the stage play a million years ago.

My favorite line remains, "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.


This sounds like a good course of action. My own blog too often becomes a litany of rants and whines, simply because those are moments when I must write, or explode. I should remember to include the good parts, when I don't need to write, but should.

Tim S.

I think I was one of the few people who had a good 2009. That was, of course, primarily due to getting engaged in April (we'll be in your neck of the woods for the wedding because, well, it still ain't completely legal out here in Cali).

That little bit of bragging aside (sorry), I do think it's important to recognize when you're happy. But there's also some happiness to be derived from complaining in a public forum. You get to commiserate with other people who tell you their troubles. You feel like you're part of a group. There are other people going through this stuff too. And you feel a little better.

But yeah, you have to appreciate the good times, too. Not to go back to politics, but that habit of complaining and camaraderie of misery is what a lot of the right-wing talk machine seems to play off of.

The great philosopher Joe Walsh said it best, I think. "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do."

Happy birthday, too!


In 2009, I developed the practice of what I call homeopathic yelling - letting out a long "aaaaahhhhhhhh" when what I mean is louder and uglier. To humans it sounds like a tone, but it often makes the cat jump up out of a dead sleep and crawl under something.

Lance, thanks for this post. It made me feel quite optimistic, because it tells me that others are coming to the same conclusion I have: feed the positive. This is not to say "stop feeling" - but note it, find the light at its dark center, and move forward with that.

As for the body stuff, I have a quote by physicist David Bohm here on my bulletin board: "Sickness is a dream in the body... Symptoms have wisdom, metaphoric power, method in their madness. They are one of the languages the soul uses to get across to us something about itself."
I know there are some who hear these words and think it means blaming self for illness. I think that's an immature -either/or - oversimplification of an incredibly complex and nonlinear communication system. It misses the light at the center of that darkness as well.


Nobody vents when they're happy, Lance. Like your letter below this post, no one comments when things are going smoothly. They kvetch.

That's what I thought blogs were for? They let other people know we're in the same boat as them.

Tom W.

I'm hearing this, and I'm feeling this. Closed in, pressured, stressed. It's an epidemic. Good post. Let's blow off some steam.


"Let's blow off some steam."

Um, Peel Me a Grape?


One of the best ways to remember that I'm still alive (and thus capable of happiness) is to look at the stars on a cold crisp night in January or February. Usually I've gone outside to get another piece or two of firewood. Maybe a plane is going over, as some height, silent, the sound coming along well behind, and passing overhead after the plane itself is gone. And then I go in and watch Discovery Channel about some black hole thing, or how there's probably an asteroid on the way. It ain't rite.

Cathie from Canada

Beautiful post.
(By the way, I tried to post a comment to this post last night from home, and your blog kept flashing me a message that my input wasn't accepted, or words to this effect.)


Antidote for Lance:

Wet basement commiseration: the basement at my house was also a moldy damp perennial pond for years.. \an old farmhouse sunk into the downhill slope of very very big, long hill, all of whose the drainage runs through us to get to the creek at the bottom..

I was finally able to spring for one of those "Basement Systems" interior perimiter drain + sump pump + wall covering jobs, and now its cozy and dry. Not cheap (though not insanely expensive either) and by no means are all of the "B.S." franchise owners good at what they do, but definitely worth investigating in your area to see if you have a good one nearby.


During these hard days and hard weeks, everybody always
has it bad once in a while. You know, you have a bad time of it, and you always have a friend who says "Hey man, you ain't got it that bad. Look at that guy." And you at that guy, and he's got it worse than you. And it makes you feel better that there's somebody that's got it worse than you.

But think of the last guy. For one minute, think of the last guy. Nobody's got it worse than that guy. Nobody in the whole world. That guy...he's so alone in the world that he doesn't even have a street to lay in for a truck to run him over. He's out there with nothin'. Nothin's happenin' for that cat.

-- Arlo Guthrie. 1968.

Same as it ever was.


But Lance, complaining about your problems publicly gives those of us who don't have the same problems the opportunity to count OUR blessings - like me saying whew! I'm sooo glad I don't have a basement!

Uncle Merlin

Well said Lance. I like your point that it really isn't totally our perception but a combination of actual stressors emplaced on our being that we are responding too. I learned an important trick many years ago. Acknowledge that stress, express your awareness of it. Never deny it or not regard it, that makes it grow. The fastest way to get rid of the negative energy is to look it square in the eyes.

You helped me see the twin widows for what they are AND last nite D'Arcywoman helped me see a fear I was not acknowledging that will be crucial to my overcoming the death of my father.

I love that line from " I Love Lucy" Lucy was talking to her psychiatrist who kept telling her that reason states there couldn't actually be a gorilla in an apartment in Manhattan, Yes Lucy was staring down at a Gorilla in her apartment and her reply to the psychiatrist was: "I'm facing my fear, it won't disappear, it's still here!"

Victoria I am lifting your David Bohm quote! He is one of my favorite Physicists I never knew he was so "metaphysical". Oh that's such a dirty word to use on a Physicist!

"Sickness is a dream in the body... Symptoms have wisdom, metaphoric power, method in their madness. They are one of the languages the soul uses to get across to us something about itself."

Uncle Merlin

mac macgillicuddy

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed by the undesireable incidents of my daily life, I think about a conversation I had with my father about how in a universe of infinite space and time, there are infinite number of forks in the road for infinite possibilities: therefore, via at least one of those infinite forks, something different and better is simultaneously happening.

I think about that, or I watch Star Trek. Which we're going to do tonight.

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